[ExI] Fwd: [wta-talk] Vinay Gupta's Pirate Platform

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Sun Oct 11 15:55:49 UTC 2009

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Hughes, James J. <James.Hughes at trincoll.edu>
Date: Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 9:56 AM
Subject: [wta-talk] Vinay Gupta's Pirate Platform
To: World Transhumanist Association Discussion List <wta-talk at transhumanism.org>


A Pirate's Platform

by Vinay Gupta

an attempt at a fundamental rights based platform for the Pirate movement.

1> Our goal is freedom, particularly creative and expressive freedom, for all.

2> We are not aligned with traditional left/right politics, and are
substantially not a form of Libertarian because of our emphasis on the
social construction of property.

3> All rights arise from within individuals. The machinery which
implements or denies rights is socially constructed in some cases.

4> The right to property arises from within individuals, but the
machinery which creates property is a social construction. Throughout
time new forms of property have been developed, starting with nomads
settling on land and continuing through shares in limited liability
corporations, copyright and patents. Not one of these forms of
property was an inherent right before the form of property was
created: rather they are socially constructed expressions of a
fundamental right to property, in the same way that a newspaper is a
socially constructed expression of the right to free speech.

5> We do not know the perfect forms of property, if such things even
exist. There are substantial reasons to believe that good property
laws vary depending on culture and technology, among many other

6> The Libertarian ethos of self-ownership as the foundation for all
property rights does not adequately address the role of the State in
creating many of the forms of property in society. Although
anarchocapitalism attempts to address the role of the State in
creating property there is a substantial lack of clear consensus of
the role of "might makes right" in the implementation of rights in an
Stateless ancap society. These are examples of systems which are
clearly reasoned from strongly stated axioms, but which demonstrate
the potential for severe problems in practice. This is not our way
because it is biased too much towards theory.

7> The Pirate ethos is not one of reasoning from fundamental axioms
and damn the torpedos. Nor is it purely utilitarian, arguing for the
greatest good for the greatest number. Rather, it is scientific,
evolutionary, experiential and experimental. Pirate politics are
learning politics. If we succeed in one nation in implementing
radically sane laws around property, and the result is cultural
disaster because the laws inhibit creativity rather than freeing it,
we will change our minds. However, we will not abandon principles
based on failed experiments, seeking always to find the correct social
machinery to express our inherent individual rights.

8> In the long run, no form of property or rights is beyond our
ambition. Copyright and patent are relatively young laws, in a state
of flux because of new technology, and therefore are our first targets
for radical sanity. However, it is not beyond imagination that Pirate
policy may extend to all fundamental human rights and the environment
given time. A learning approach to politics gives us time to work on
what we are sure of now and develop a wider mandate in time.

9> Electoral politics is only one part of a broad-based effort to
encourage dialogue and creative engagement at a cultural level,
including discussing the role of law in freeing us from various forms
of inconvenience, oppression and danger. Where individuals and society
require no assistance from the State, no law should exist. A strong
practice of individual and social self reliance can reduce the scope
of State power.

10> The international export of European and American property rights
norms does not constitute sustainable development, particularly in the
areas of patenting lifeforms and denying access to life-saving drugs
based on patents. International organizations like WIPO need
coordinated international response to combat, not just from nation
states, but also from individuals and society. They are our most
dangerous foes and need to be engaged accordingly.

11> The privatization of knowledge by copyright and patent denies the
fundamental openness of the human quest for understanding in general,
and the scientific method in general. Knowledge is a fundamental
commons, in the same general manner as air is, and while there may be
temporary practical exceptions for social utility (like patent) the
enclosure of knowledge as property is fundamentally in error. We must
align with what is good for science, and for the open spread of
knowledge. Education may be a natural area to make allies.

12> We are making policy for a future which likely includes
technologies like gene therapies and elective genetic modifications,
nanotechnology, self-replicating machines and artificial intelligence.
Substantial progress in at least some of these fields, of a kind which
creates a strong need for updating laws, is certain within a
generation or less. Correct understanding of individual rights and the
social mechanisms to implement them will require substantial
technological competence and sophistication among policy makers. We
can provide that understanding and competence.

13> The Green movement has failed to take effective action on the
substantial issue of its day. We must learn from the failures of
previous parties with a narrow focus particularly when it comes to
linking effective action in our main area of interest to broader
social agendas. Many are for copyright reform who are against, for
example, drug reform. We must remain true to our goals above all
subsidiary agendas.

14> We need to identify and respect historical figures and
contemporary heros who support our cause. This is made more difficult
by the role of the media, a copyright-centric enterprise, in shaping
culture. Many who might support us privately, as they bittorrent their
favorite British TV shows, would never personally admit that our
positions make sense. I personally start the heroes list with Richard
Stallman and Trent Reznor.

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- Bryan
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